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Home > Fathers of the Church > Gospel of Nicodemus > Part II, Second Latin Form

Gospel of Nicodemus (Part II, Second Latin Form)

Chapter 1 (17).

Then Rabbi Addas, and Rabbi Finees, and Rabbi Egias, the three men who had come from Galilee, testifying that they had seen Jesus taken up into heaven, rose up in the midst of the multitude of the chiefs of the Jews, and said before the priests and the Levites, who had been called together to the council of the Lord: When we were coming from Galilee, we met at the Jordan a very great multitude of men, fathers who had been some time dead. And present among them we saw Karinus and Leucius. And they came up to us, and we kissed each other, because they were dear friends of ours; and we asked them, Tell us, friends and brothers, what is this breath of life and flesh? And who are those with whom you are going? And how do you, who have been some time dead, remain in the body?

And they said in answer: We have risen again along with Christ from the lower world, and He has raised us up again from the dead. And from this you may know that the gates of death and darkness have been destroyed, and the souls of the saints have been brought out thence, and have ascended into heaven along with Christ the Lord. And indeed to us it has been commanded by the Lord Himself, that for an appointed time we should walk over the banks of Jordan and the mountains; not, however, appearing to every one, nor speaking to every one, except to those to whom He has permitted us. And just now we could neither have spoken nor appeared to you, unless it had been allowed to us by the Holy Spirit.

And when they heard this, all the multitude who were present in the council were struck with fear and trembling, and wondered whether these things had really happened which these Galilæans testified. Then Caiaphas and Annas said to the council: What these have testified, first and last, must shortly be altogether made clear: If it shall be found to be true that Karinus and Leucius remain alive in the body, and if we shall be able to behold them with our own eyes, then what they testify is altogether true; and if we find them, they will inform us of everything; but if not, you may know that it is all lies.

Then the council having suddenly risen, it pleased them to choose men fit for the duty, fearing God, and who knew when they died, and where they were buried, to inquire diligently, and to see whether it was as they had heard. The men therefore proceeded to the same place, fifteen in number, who through all were present at their falling asleep, and had stood at their feet when they were buried, and had beheld their tombs. And they came and found their tombs open, and very many others besides, and found a sign neither of their bones nor of their dust. And they returned in all haste, and reported what they had seen.

Then all their synagogue was in great grief and perplexity, and they said to each other: What shall we do? Annas and Caiaphas said: Let us turn to where we have heard that they are, and let us send to them men of rank, asking and entreating them: perhaps they will deign to come to us. Then they sent to them Nicodemus and Joseph, and the three men, the Galilæan rabbis who had seen them, asking that they should deign to come to them. And they went, and walked round all the region of Jordan and of the mountains, and they were coming back without finding them.

And, behold, suddenly there appeared coming down from Mount Amalech a very great number, as it were, twelve thousand men, who had risen with the Lord. And though they recognised very many there, they were not able to say anything to them for fear and the angelic vision; and they stood at a distance gazing and hearing them, how they walked along singing praises, and saying: The Lord has risen again from the dead, as He had said; let us all exult and be glad, since He reigns for ever. Then those who had been sent were astonished, and fell to the ground for fear, and received the answer from them, that they should see Karinus and Leucius in their own houses.

And they rose up and went to their houses, and found them spending their time in prayer. And going in to them, they fell on their faces to the ground, saluting them; and being raised up, they said: O friends of God, all the multitude of the Jews have directed us to you, hearing that you have risen from the dead, asking and beseeching you to come to them, that we all may know the great things of God which have happened around us in our times. And they immediately, at a sign from God, rose up, and came with them, and entered their synagogue. Then the multitude of the Jews, with the priests, put the books of the law in their hands, and adjured them by the God Heloi, and the God Adonai, and by the law and the prophets, saying: Tell us how you have risen from the dead, and what are those wonderful things which have happened in our times, such as we have never heard to have happened at any other time; because already for fear all our bones have been benumbed, and have dried up, and the earth moves itself under our feet: for we have joined all our hearts to shed righteous and holy blood.

Then Karinus and Leucius signed to them with their hands to give them a sheet of paper and ink. And this they did, because the Holy Spirit did not allow them to speak to them. And they gave each of them paper, and put them apart, the one from the other in separate cells. And they, making with their fingers the sign of the cross of Christ, began to write on the separate sheets; and after they had finished, as if out of one mouth from the separate cells, they cried out, Amen. And rising up, Karinus gave his paper to Annas, and Leucius to Caiaphas; and saluting each other, they went out, and returned to their sepulchres.

Then Annas and Caiaphas, opening the sheet of paper, began each to read it in secret. But all the people took it ill, and so all cried out: Read these writings to us openly; and after they have been read through we shall keep them, lest perchance this truth of God be turned through wilful blindness, by unclean and deceitful men, into falsehood. At this Annas and Caiaphas fell a-trembling, and delivered the sheet of paper to Rabbi Addas, and Rabbi Finees, and Rabbi Egias, who had come from Galilee, and announced that Jesus had been taken up into heaven. All the multitude of the Jews trusted to them to read this writing. And they read the paper containing these words:—

Chapter 2 (18).

I Karinus. O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, permit me to speak of Your wonders which You have done in the lower world. When, therefore, we were kept in darkness and the shadow of death in the lower world, suddenly there shone upon us a great light, and Hades and the gates of death trembled. And then was heard the voice of the Son of the Father most high, as if the voice of a great thunder; and loudly proclaiming, He thus charged them: Lift up your gates, you princes; lift up the everlasting gates; the King of glory, Christ the Lord, will come up to enter in.

Then Satan, the leader of death, came up, fleeing in terror, saying to his officers and the powers below: My officers, and all the powers below, run together, shut your gates, put up the iron bars, and fight bravely, and resist, lest they lay hold of us, and keep us captive in chains. Then all his impious officers were perplexed, and began to shut the gates of death with all diligence, and little by little to fasten the locks and the iron bars, and to hold all their weapons grasped in their hands, and to utter howlings in a direful and most hideous voice.

Chapter 3 (19).

Then Satan said to Hades: Make yourself ready to receive him whom I shall bring down to you. Thereupon Hades thus replied to Satan: That voice was from nothing else than the cry of the Son of the Father most high, because the earth and all the places of the world below so trembled under it: wherefore I think that myself and all my dungeons are now lying open. But I adjure you, Satan, head of all evils, by your power and my own, bring him not to me, lest, while we wish to take him, we be taken captive by him. For if, at his voice only, all my power has been thus destroyed, what do you think he will do when he shall come in person?

To him Satan, the leader of death, thus replied: What are you crying out about? Do not be afraid, my old most wicked friend, because I have stirred up the people of the Jews against him; I have told them to strike him with blows on the face, and I have brought upon him betrayal by one of his disciples; and he is a man in great fear of death, because from fear he said, My soul is sorrowful, even unto death; and I have brought him to this, that he has just been lifted up and hanged on the cross.

Then Hades said to him: If he be the same who, by the mere word of his command, made Lazarus fly away like an eagle from my bosom, when he had already been dead four days, he is not a man in humanity, but God in majesty. I entreat you not to bring him to me. And Satan says to him: Make yourself ready nevertheless; be not afraid; because he is already hanging on the cross, I can do nothing else. Then Hades thus replied to Satan: If, then, you can do nothing else, behold, your destruction is at hand. I, in short, shall remain cast down and dishonoured; you, however, will be tortured under my power.

Chapter 4 (20).

And the saints of God heard the wrangling of Satan and Hades. They, however, though as yet not at all recognising each other, were, notwithstanding, in the possession of their faculties. But our holy father Adam thus replied to Satan at once: O captain of death, why do you fear and tremble? Behold, the Lord is coming, who will now destroy all your inventions; and you shall be taken by Him, and bound throughout eternity.

Then all the saints, hearing the voice of our father Adam, how boldly he replied to Satan in all points, were strengthened in joy; and all running together to father Adam, were crowded in one place. Then our father Adam, gazing on all that multitude, wondered greatly whether all of them had been begotten from him into the world. And embracing those who were standing everywhere around him, and shedding most bitter tears, he addressed his son Seth, saying: Relate, my son Seth, to the holy patriarchs and prophets what the guardian of paradise said to you, when I sent you to bring to me of that oil of compassion, in order to anoint my body when I was ill.

Then he answered: I, when you sent me before the gates of paradise, prayed and entreated the Lord with tears, and called upon the guardian of paradise to give me of it therefrom. Then Michael the archangel came out, and said to me, Seth, why then do you weep? Know, being informed beforehand, that your father Adam will not receive of this oil of compassion now, but after many generations of time. For the most beloved Son of God will come down from heaven into the world, and will be baptized by John in the river Jordan; and then shall your father Adam receive of this oil of compassion, and all that believe in him. And of those who have believed in him, their kingdom will endure for ever.

Chapter 5 (21).

Then all the saints, hearing this again, exulted in joy. And one of those standing round, Isaias by name, cried out aloud, and thundered: Father Adam, and all standing round, hear my declaration. When I was on earth, and by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, in prophecy I sang of this light: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light; to them dwelling in the region of the shadow of death light has arisen. At these words father Adam, and all of them, turned and asked him: Who are you? Because what you say is true. And he subjoined, and said: My name is Isaias.

Then appeared another near him, as if a hermit. And they asked him, saying: Who are you, who bearest such an appearance in your body? And he firmly answered: I am John the Baptist, voice and prophet of the Most High. I went before the face of the same Lord, that I might make the waste and rough places into plain ways. I with my finger pointed out and made manifest the Lamb of the Lord, and Son of God, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I baptized Him in the river Jordan. I heard the voice of the Father from heaven thundering over Him, and proclaiming, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. I received from Him the answer that He would descend to the lower world

Then father Adam, hearing this, cried with a loud voice, exclaiming: Alleluia! Which is, interpreted, The Lord is certainly coming.

Chapter 6 (22).

After that, another standing there, pre-eminent as it were, with a certain mark of an emperor, David by name, thus cried out, and said: When I was upon earth, I made revelations to the people of the mercy of God and His visitation, prophesying future joys, saying through all ages, Let them make confession to the Lord of His tender mercy and His wonderful works to the sons of men, because He has shattered the gates of brass, and broken the bars of iron. Then the holy patriarchs and prophets began mutually to recognise each other, and each to quote his prophecies.

Then holy Jeremias, examining his prophecies, said to the patriarchs and prophets: When I was upon earth, I prophesied of the Son of God, that He was seen upon earth, and dwelt with men.

Then all the saints, exulting in the light of the Lord, and in the sight of father Adam, and in the answering of all the patriarchs and prophets, cried out, saying: Alleluia! blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; so that at their crying out Satan trembled, and sought a way of escape. And he could not, because Hades and his satellites kept him bound in the lower regions, and guarded at all points. And they said to him: Why do you tremble? We by no means allow you to go forth hence. But receive this, as you are worthy, from Him whom you daily assailed; but if not, know that you, bound by Him, shall be in my keeping.

Chapter 7 (23).

And again there came the voice of the Son of the Father most high, as it were the voice of a great thunder, saying: Lift up your gates, you princes; and be lifted up, you everlasting gates, and the King of glory will come in. Then Satan and Hades cried out, saying: Who is the king of glory? And it was answered to them in the voice of the Lord: The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.

After this voice there came a man, whose appearance was that of a robber, carrying a cross on his shoulder, crying from the outside of the door, and saying: Open to me, that I may come in. And Satan, opening to him a little, brought him inside into his dwelling, and again shut the door after him. And all the saints saw him most clearly, and said to him immediately: Your appearance is that of a robber. Tell us what it is that you carry on your back. And he answered, and said with humility: Truly I was a robber altogether; and the Jews hung me up on a cross, along with my Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father most high. I, in fine, have come heralding Him; He indeed is coming immediately behind me.

Then holy David, inflamed with anger against Satan, cried out aloud: Open your gates, most vile wretch, that the King of glory may come in. In like manner also all the saints of God rose up against Satan, and would have seized him, and divided him among them. And again a cry was heard within: Lift up your gates, you princes; and be lifted up, you everlasting gates; and the King of glory shall come in. Hades and Satan, at that clear voice, again asked, saying: Who is this king of glory? And it was said to them by that wonderful voice: The Lord of powers, He is the King of glory.

Chapter 8 (24).

And, behold, suddenly Hades trembled, and the gates of death and the bolts were shattered, and the iron bars were broken and fell to the ground, and everything was laid open. And Satan remained in the midst, and stood confounded and downcast, bound with fetters on his feet. And, behold, the Lord Jesus Christ, coming in the brightness of light from on high, compassionate, great, and lowly, carrying a chain in His hand, bound Satan by the neck; and again tying his hands behind him, dashed him on his back into Tartarus, and placed His holy foot on his throat, saying: Through all ages you have done many evils; you have not in any wise rested. Today I deliver you to everlasting fire. And Hades being suddenly summoned, He commanded him, and said: Take this most wicked and impious one, and have him in your keeping even to that day in which I shall command you. And he, as soon as he received him, was plunged under the feet of the Lord along with him into the depth of the abyss.

Chapter 9 (25).

Then the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of all, affectionate and most mild, saluting Adam kindly, said to him: Peace be to you, Adam, with your children, through immeasurable ages of ages! Amen. Then father Adam, falling forward at the feet of the Lord, and being raised erect, kissed His hands, and shed many tears, saying, testifying to all: Behold the hands which fashioned me! And he said to the Lord: You have come, O King of glory, delivering men, and bringing them into Your everlasting kingdom. Then also our mother Eve in like manner fell forward at the feet of our Lord, and was raised erect, and kissed His hands, and poured forth tears in abundance, and said, testifying to all: Behold the hands which made me!

Then all the saints, adoring Him, cried out, saying: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The Lord God has shone upon us— amen— through all ages. Alleluia for ever and ever! Praise, honour, power, glory! Because You have come from on high to visit us. Singing Alleluia continually, and rejoicing together concerning His glory, they ran together under the hands of the Lord. Then the Saviour, inquiring thoroughly about all, seized Hades, immediately threw some down into Tartarus, and led some with Him to the upper world.

Chapter 10 (26).

Then all the saints of God asked the Lord to leave as a sign of victory the sign of His holy cross in the lower world, that its most impious officers might not retain as an offender any one whom the Lord had absolved. And so it was done. And the Lord set His cross in the midst of Hades, which is the sign of victory, and which will remain even to eternity.

Then we all went forth thence along with the Lord, leaving Satan and Hades in Tartarus. And to us and many others it was commanded that we should rise in the body, giving in the world a testimony of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of those things which had been done in the lower world.

These are the things, dearest brethren, which we have seen, and which, adjured by you, we testify, He bearing witness who died for us, and rose again; because, as it was written, so has it been done in all points.

Chapter 11 (27).

And when the paper was finished and read through, all that heard it fell on their faces, weeping bitterly, and cruelly beating their breasts, crying out, and saying through all: Woe to us! Why has this happened to us wretched? Pilate flees; Annas and Caiaphas flee; the priests and Levites flee; moreover also the people of the Jews, weeping and saying, Woe to us wretched! We have shed sacred blood upon the earth.

For three days, therefore, and three nights, they did not taste bread and water at all; nor did any of them return to the synagogue. But on the third day again the council was assembled, and the other paper of Leucius was read through; and it was found neither more nor less, to a single letter, than that which the writing of Karinus contained. Then the synagogue was perplexed; and they all lamented forty days and forty nights, looking for destruction from God, and the vengeance of God. But He, pitier affectionate and most high, did not immediately destroy them, bountifully giving them a place of repentance. But they were not found worthy to be turned to the Lord.

These are the testimonies of Karinus and Leucius, dearest brethren, concerning Christ the Son of God, and His holy deeds in the lower world; to whom let us all give praise and glory through immeasurable age of ages. Amen.

About this page

Source. Translated by Alexander Walker. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/08072c.htm>.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is feedback732 at newadvent.org. (To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally.) Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

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